PSVL is spot-on in eir assessment

This comment by PSVL on my post here was so salient and offered such a spot on analysis of the current situation in our communities that I wanted to pull it out and highlight it here.  I mentioned in that initial post that Peter Dybing, in a fb conversation made the comment that “it’s the left in polythiest communities that are leading the way. With reactionary right wingers resisting the fundamental changes that are sidelining their narrow views.”This was part of PSVL’s response to that conversation and the whole thing may be read at the link above.

“…the left in “polytheism” has made social issues (I won’t say “social conscience” or “social justice” because I think both of those things are fundamentally positive, but the way those terms are being used by those who advocate against the ability of people to choose freely, to speak freely, and to have differing opinions is entirely contrary to those principles, in my view) the center of their movement, and have sidelined the views not of the reactionary right, but instead of anyone and everyone who puts the Deities first in their polytheism, i.e. actual polytheists. If it becomes more important to make the right friends, say the right political slogans, and condemn those whom it is popular to condemn, and all those things are understood as “leading the way,” then he’s right. If, as a result, this means that people who prioritize devotion are driven underground, and that is also “leading the way,” then he’s also right.

…I think the essential conflict is one that many of these so-called “polytheists” and many mainstream pagans can’t parse as being different. There is a monumentally gigantic difference between a parent forcing a child to do something and then punishing them for disobeying, and how that situation mirrors what the default position in monotheistic religions is, and the ways in which those devoted to particular Deities in a polytheistic context have happily and willingly accepted limitations on their lives and activities in service to their Deities in order to have better relationships with Them. It’s no different than anything else one might take an oath or a vow to do. If one is from a different country and then becomes a citizen of the U.S., there are limitations to one’s freedoms in doing so, and such an allegiance precludes retaining an allegiance to a foreign power and working as a terrorist to undermine the U.S. government, for example. Someone who enters into the vows of legal marriage and has an understanding with their partner that there is no falling in love with or having sex with other people in the context of their relationship, then those are the rules. Neither of these situations is an oppressive reality, it’s something that is freely chosen by those involved, and the benefits accruing to them due to their vows being upheld are all the more delicious (it would be hoped!) than whatever satisfaction or other enjoyments might come from breaking them. Why this is hard to understand for so many of these people is beyond me at this point, and I’m beginning to get less patient with even having to attempt explaining it to those who clearly don’t want to understand it, or understand that it is a reality for some of us that is more important than anything.”

What strikes me the most is the marked hostility toward and contempt for the Gods in so much of their rhetoric. I find it just…sad. It’s almost as though their only purpose in choosing to disrupt polytheism is so that they can work out their anger toward Divine authority by preventing anything good from being built for Them. As i said: sad. 


Posted on August 15, 2016, in community, Polytheism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I’m glad you liked it!

    Can I ask, please: pronouns in your subject line aren’t applicable to me. “eir” would be the correct one in this instance. Thank you! 😉


  2. I agree with problems with authority. Most of the Pagans that I know have tremendous issues concerning the Christian religion. The ones who seem to be the most anti-authority are the ones from fundamental sects such as Mormonism and Baptism and some forms of Catholicism. They come into Paganism seeking relief from religious authority, and spout the mantra “Spiritual, not religious.” This particular mantra is a part of American culture and goes back to the 19th century. I remember learning about the mantra from A.A. people who quoted Bill Wilson of the 1930s. So the anti-theist thread is a part of American religious culture.

    I think that Paganism is the latest in a string of American religious attempts at utopia. Somehow if we are free from religious authority, we can create a New World of love. Dybing’s writings have alluded to this impulse – to remake the old world into a new one of social justice for all. Only problem is that these new worlds fail miserably over how to operate them. Disagreements about who does the work seem to abound.

    Reactionaries in the American religious sense are those who cling to the old order of authority and structure. Think of Dybing and the others trying to bring about a brave new world, only to be frustrated by people like us who don’t share in their vision.

    Again I refer to Norman Cohn’s classic “Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary messianism in medieval and Reformation Europe and its bearing on modern totalitarian movements.”

    From Cohn’s book
    As for the Communists, they continue to elaborate, in volume after volume, that cult of Thomas Muntzer which was inaugurated already by Engels. But whereas in these works the prophetae of a vanished world are shown as men born centuries before their time, it is perfectly possible to draw the opposite moral — that, for all their exploitation of the most modern technology, Communism and Nazism have been inspired by phantasies which are downright archaic. And such is in fact the case. It can be shown (though to do so in detail would require another volume) that the ideologies of Communism and Nazism, dissimilar though they are in many respects, are both heavily indebted to that very ancient body of beliefs which constituted the popular apocalyptic lore of Europe.

    More discussion at this site:


  3. Problems with authority seems to be the major commonality among the anti-divinity ultra-radical crowd. They just loathe the very idea of being told what to do, that everyone’s opinion isn’t equal, that they are incorrect, or worse of all, no.


    • ganglerisgrove

      well, everyone’s opinion isn’t equal. If i want to have surgery, I want a trained surgeon working on me. If i need a lawyer, i want someone who passed the bar, and in matters of theology, i want, oh i don’t know, maybe people devoted to the Gods and trained in theology. I think PSVL really nailed it here: the problem is this idea that all expertise is interchangeable. It isn’t.


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